Rating: M (for later chapters)
Spoilers: Twilight, New Moon
Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns and originated these extremely compelling characters. I'm not making a dime from this.
Summary: This picks up right where New Moon left off. The threat of losing Jacob shakes some sense into Bella Swan. She finally realizes that what she felt for Edward was only fascination, and that love, REAL love, has been staring her in the face all along.
What had she done?
Bella lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. It had to be at least two o'clock in the morning, and she hadn't slept at all. Wasn't even tired. Her mind reeled, replaying the encounter with Jacob over and over. The pain in his eyes, the betrayal, had devastated her. As Edward had pulled her toward the house to face Charlie's wrath, she'd never felt so conflicted.
Then Jacob had reached for her.
In that moment, something seemed to click inside of Bella. Her best friend, her own personal sun, stood right there, needing her. And she was hurting him, again. Choosing the one who was so wrong for her, as she had so many times before.
Jacob had seen her through so much. She'd been walking around like a wounded and blind person, with him as her only connection to reality. He'd practically offered himself to her that day in the movie theater. How could she have not seen what she was passing up?
And now she'd probably blown it with him for the last time.
An urgency gripped Bella, pulling her out of her bed. It's not too late! She threw back the covers and stripped out of her pajamas, throwing on whatever clothes lay strewn over the chair. It was the middle of the night, but that didn't matter. Nothing mattered now except getting to him.
She snuck into the hall and tiptoed down the stairs, avoiding the third step, which creaked. Even from the kitchen, she could hear Charlie snoring. She only hoped that the engine of her ancient truck wouldn't wake him when it roared to life.
The ride to La Push seemed to take much longer than usual. The closer she got to Jacob's house, the more her heart raced. She had no idea what to say to him. Right now it seemed like the important thing was being there. She just had to believe that when she saw him, the right words would come. He would be angry, and hurt. But he loved her, didn't he? He'd never said as much, but Bella knew it was true. It had to be.
She stopped the truck a safe distance from the house, feeling more alive than she had in months. This was right. Jacob, my beautiful best friend. I'm here. She jogged down the gravel drive and circled around to his window, joy filling her as she lightly tapped on the glass.
Silence. After a few seconds, she tapped again, worried that the sound would wake Billy in the small house.
"What are you doing here?"
The angry whisper came from behind her. Bella gasped and spun around to find Jacob standing a few feet away, shirtless, his massive chest gleaming in the moonlight.
She braced herself against the window ledge. "Jacob, you scared the life out of me!" How had she not heard him walk up behind her? Had she been so oblivious, or was it a wolf thing? Her heart pounded.
Jacob stalked closer, his shadowed form towering and ominous. "What do you want, Bella? It's the middle of the night."
No love emanated from Jacob now. She couldn't see his face in the darkness, but she could imagine that bitter expression that so often twisted his features when he'd first joined the pack. The resentment she felt from him now stung.
"I know. I need to talk to you. Jacob…" She wanted to reach up and touch his face, but half feared he'd recoil if she tried. "I…" Where were her words? This would be so much easier if she could see him!
"You what?" His words were laced with acid.
"I…" She released a heavy breath she didn't realize she'd been holding. "I'm sorry."
Jacob stood there, solid and immutable.
"I hurt you," she continued. His silence intimidated her, and she felt her earlier bravado shrinking back into its box.
"I'll be fine. You got what you wanted. You got your bl…you got Edward back."
Bloodsucker, he'd been about to say. The fact that he'd softened his words meant he still didn't want to hurt her, no matter how angry he was. She regained a little of her confidence. "I didn't get what I wanted. Not really."
He scoffed. "Isn't it enough for you?"
"No, it's not. Jacob, I want my best friend."
"I told you, Bella. I can't be friends with you now. You've made your choice. You want to be with those leeches--those Cullens. My blood enemies. Even now, you stink from them. How can I be around you, when you would choose to hang around with those…those…"
"Maybe I chose wrong!"
Her interjection silenced him. She could feel him staring at her. She could feel the resentment in him turn into the faintest glimmer of hope. Her heart soared.
"I chose wrong," she repeated. "I can't lose you, Jacob. You're too important to me." She seemed to have caught him off-guard. His frame became slightly less imposing. "Do you have somewhere we can talk? Somewhere with some light?"
He sighed and mussed his short hair with his hand. "Yeah," he groaned. "Come on."
A thrill of excitement coursed through her. He was giving her a chance. Maybe she hadn't blown it with him! He led her around back to the enclosed patio, where a dim porch light glowed, and opened the screen door for her. Before she went in, she glanced up at him. He looked wary, but held the majority of his bitterness at bay, at least for the moment.
She slipped inside and went to the well-worn lounger, leaving enough space for him to sit beside her. He quickly followed her lead and waited silently for her to speak. His feet were bare. All he wore were his cut-off sweats.
She moistened her lips, not sure where to begin. His focus was so intense, and he was so much more beautiful than she realized before. She unconsciously glanced at his mouth, but knew immediately what she'd done when his eyes softened, and a crease formed between his eyebrows.
Bella took a deep breath. "Jacob, I can be pretty dumb sometimes."
He gave a snort, but didn't deny it.
She let his silent agreement roll off her back. She deserved it. "I thought Edward was what I wanted. I…I was so devastated when he left. I didn't think I could go on. You know?"
Jacob rolled his eyes. "Yeah, and?" A scowl turned the corners of his mouth.
Patience. He obviously thought she was making excuses for her boneheaded behavior. Maybe she was, a little. But everything had changed. She'd almost lost him tonight. The thought made her shudder. "I think it was only the idea of Edward that I loved."
"No, wait. Let me finish. I've been so awful to you. I need to say this." She gathered up her courage to go on. "Jacob…" She reached out and took his hand in hers. He didn't draw it back. His skin was hot and comforting. "I know I've hurt you. I know I've been stupid, and blind. If you can forgive me, I want to be your friend. I need you in my life."
He remained silent.
"I never really wanted Edward. Not really. I know that now. If I have to choose between him, and you, then without hesitation, I choose you."
He didn't react right away. She supposed her words were a shock, being one-hundred eighty degrees from what she said every other time. After a minute, his chest expanded as he drew in a huge breath.
Authors Notes: Much more to come! I promised myself I'd never write fanfic again. It takes way too much energy away from my original characters. Never say never I guess! The UST between Jacob and Bella is just too unbearable! I had to get this angst off my chest before I could go on with my life. I hope you like it. Feedback will be cherished forever.